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Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan draft document sparks criticism

A sign for the City of Hamilton, Ont. May 27, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Stephen C. Host
Hamilton's planning committee will receive the Downtown Secondary Plan in April. CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Stephen C. Host

Residents are getting their first look at an updated draft of the Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan that sets out the parameters for future growth.

The document was released on Monday and will be presented at the city’s planning committee next month.

It focuses on an area bordered by Victoria Avenue and Hunter, Queen and Cannon streets, and encompasses properties on James Street.

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Some neighbourhood groups have cited concerns about the impact that 30-storey towers would have on affordability and the character of communities based on previous maps.

But Ward 2 Coun. Jason Farr says there will be safeguards in place, if, for example, a developer purchased a lot that included buildings with affordable units that were then demolished.

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The plan does set out height maximums of 30 storeys in some pockets of downtown but Farr says there are a number of conditions that need to be met for those applications to be approved.

The city has set a goal to create up to 6,000 new dwelling units, bringing in up to 10,000 residents to the core in 15 years’ time.